John Bender, Jr., perhaps twenty-five, was tall and slim, with a ruddy complexion and auburn-haired. He was rather handsome in an awkward, country-boy style. His eyes, gray with a brownish tint, were set close together, and so wide-opened as to give the effect of a stare. Young John wore a moustache with no whiskers. He acted like any other country boy, but had a habit of laughing aimlessly at almost everything he said. Many described his mannerisms as that of a half-wit, mannerisms which may have been a disguise for a most clever nature. He spo
ke English fluently with a strong German accent. He watched and listened constantly.

Like Kate, young John was more inclined to sociability than either of the elder Benders. The two younger Benders sometimes attended a local Sunday school at nearby Harmony Grove and became accepted in the community. It is believe that John Bender, Jr. became part of the family because of Kate. He and his alledged "sister Kate", had an on going relationship. Whenever she had a baby, they just knock it in the head. One bizarre murder just seemed to lead to another murder as the group became known as the Kansas "Bloody Benders."

Hon. William Wright and S.S. Peterson, deputy United States marshals, two of the searching party, followed the Bender trail to Thayer after the gruesome discovery of the ten bodies. By dispatch or telegraph, they learned the young Benders had left the train at Humboldt, Kansas, a small town about 20-miles north on the M. K. & T. railway. That railroad ran south from Humboldt to Vinita, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Some authorities believe that Kate and John, Jr. stole some horses in Cherokee Nation and then traveled on into the badlands of Texas or Mexico, where they joined up with the bands of desperados supplying them with essentials. This outlaw district had never been surveyed at that time to determine if it was situated in the United States or Mexico. There was also the question whether Mexico or the Texas Rangers had jurisdiction there. Later, one detective who followed this lead traced John, Jr. until he died of apoplexy in outlaw country.

While robbery was undoubtedly a motive, it is to be remembered that the Benders, true to their depraved creed, killed for the morbid gratification and excitement, to satisfy a blood-thirsty desire and for the joy of the evil deed.

His real name was John Gebhardt.  2005 Wayne Hallowell